While it seems like much longer, it is now ten years since President George W. Bush gave the order to start the invasion of Iraq. Ten years since Allied Forces, the majority of whom were American troops, began the campaign where we went looking for weapons of mass destruction and ended up digging a lot of holes in the sand. One of those holes eventually turned up Saddam Hussein.
It is also ten years since one of country music’s most successful groups saw their career nose dive at supersonic speed after speaking out against the President and the invasion, while on foreign soil. The Dixie Chicks spoke their minds and paid for it with loss of revenue, protests and death threats. From the stage Natalie Maines said ”Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence. And we’re ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas.” Her quote was picked up and published in a review with only part of the quote intact: ”‘Just so you know, we’re ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas.’” In an interview some time after the original event, Maines explained that while in London, crowds would approach them and say they thought all Americans were for the war and all thought the same about it. Her statement was meant to say all Americans did not agree with the war and even though they were from the same state as the President, they disagreed on his policy.
The Dixie Chicks were branded as being against the troops and unpatriotic, because they could not support the war we were about to engage in without a damn good reason why we were doing it. Ten years and two wars later, we have all come to realize that supporting an ill-advised war and supporting the men and women who serve in it, are two very different things.
In the decade since the war began and the career of the Dixie Chicks virtually ended, the war in Iraq was shown to be an error in judgement, an outing of just how poorly our intelligence community operates and basically a witchhunt by the President to get the man who tried to kill his pappy. Does this vindicate the Dixie Chicks? It hasn’t and it probably never will. While our country is very big on being able to exercise our freedom of speech, when it is done on foreign soil, it takes on a different weight.
Natalie Maines has said that the time of the Dixie Chicks is probably past, they are still feeling the taint of the ten year-old statement. With the group branded as anti-military, the irony that their last number one hit was titled “Traveling Soldier” is as thick as the smoke that hung heavy in the air over Baghdad… ten years ago.